|Matthew Henry's Concise Commentary|
8:18-22 One of the scribes was too hasty in promising; he proffers himself to be a close follower of Christ. He seems to be very resolute. Many resolutions for religion are produced by sudden conviction, and taken up without due consideration; these come to nothing. When this scribe offered to follow Christ, one would think he should have been encouraged; one scribe might do more credit and service than twelve fishermen; but Christ saw his heart, and answered to its thoughts, and therein teaches all how to come to Christ. His resolve seems to have been from a worldly, covetous principle; but Christ had not a place to lay his head on, and if he follows him, he must not expect to fare better than he fared. We have reason to think this scribe went away. Another was too slow. Delay in doing is as bad on the one hand, as hastiness in resolving is on the other. He asked leave to attend his father to his grave, and then he would be at Christ's service. This seemed reasonable, yet it was not right. He had not true zeal for the work. Burying the dead, especially a dead father, is a good work, but it is not thy work at this time. If Christ requires our service, affection even for the nearest and dearest relatives, and for things otherwise our duty, must give way. An unwilling mind never wants an excuse. Jesus said to him, Follow me; and, no doubt, power went with this word to him as to others; he did follow Christ, and cleaved to him. The scribe said, I will follow thee; to this man Christ said, Follow me; comparing them together, it shows that we are brought to Christ by the force of his call to us, Ro 9:16.
Verse 22. - But Jesus said unto him, Follow me, and let; Revised Version, leave. Yet the thought of leaving seems here merged in that of permitting (cf. Matthew 23:14; Mark 5:37; Mark 10:14). The dead (Revised Version, to) bury their (Revised Version, own) dead (τοὺς ἑαυτῶν νεκρούς). The paradox was self-interpreting. Let the spiritually dead have to do with death; dead men belong in a special sense to them. Observe that there was no danger of his father remaining unburied. Christ means that there are times when his service admits of no postponement, however sacred the conflicting duty. His followers must on such occasions be very Nazarites (Numbers 6:7) or high priests (Leviticus 21:11). St. Luke adds, "But go thou, and publish abroad the kingdom of God," and adds a third similar case.
Gill's Exposition of the Entire Bible
But Jesus said unto him, follow thou me,.... Christ would not excuse him on this account, but insists on what he had before called him to; to attend upon him, and give himself up to the ministry of the word: which was done, partly to shew, that a greater regard ought to be had to him, than to the nearest relation and friend whatever; and partly, on account of the dignity of the Gospel ministry, which greatly exceeds any such services; as also to signify, of what little account were the traditions of the elders with him; wherefore he says,
let the dead bury the dead. Our Lord is not to be understood, as speaking against, or disrespectfully of burying the dead; his words suppose it ought to be done: only it was not proper, that this person should be concerned in it at this time, who was called to an higher employment; and therefore should leave this to be done by persons, whom it better became. And however strange and odd such a phrase may sound in the ears of some, of one dead man's burying another, it was easily understood by a Jew; with whom it is common to say, , "that a sinner is counted as (g) dead, and that ungodly persons, even while they are alive", , are "called dead" (h). And in this sense is the word used, in the former part of this phrase; and Christ's meaning is, let such who are dead in trespasses and sins, and to all that is spiritually good, bury those who are dead in a natural or corporal sense. It is likely the deceased was an unregenerate man; however, it is plainly suggested, that many of the relations were; and there were enough of them to take care of this service: and therefore, there was no need why he should neglect the ministry of the Gospel to attend that; but, ought to leave it to persons who were fitter for it.
(g) Tzeror Hammor, fol. 6. 2.((h) T. Bab. Beracot, fol. 18. 2. Jarchi in Genesis 11. 32. Baal Hatturim, in Deuteronomy 17.6. Tzeror Hammor, fol. 58. 3. Midrash Kohelet. fol. 78. 2. Caphtor, fol. 79. 1, 2. & 84. 1.
Matthew 8:22 Parallel Commentaries
Matthew 8:22 NIV
Matthew 8:22 NLT
Matthew 8:22 ESV
Matthew 8:22 NASB
Matthew 8:22 KJV
Bible Hub: Online Parallel Bible